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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
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What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
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What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
• • • • • • •
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
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Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
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What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
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I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
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I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
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One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. defenses. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. What Do I Want to Do? 3. growth. that is finding career direction. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. Who Am I? 2.firstly asking you to explore your talents. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. and stresses of everyday life. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. and using. Once unmasked. Exploring Your Talents First of all. In fact. is a journey. How Do I Get Hired? 1. and reinvention.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. development. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed.
Influence. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do. however considering the importance of what you're doing. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. One trick is to turn things around. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. While no personality type is good or bad. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . That said. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. and avoid the things that . You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. Personality Inventories Next. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. DISC (Dominance. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order. and as you identify possible careers. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. Rank these in order. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. Tip: If you're having problems choosing. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern.
what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. and this gives you little information. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. and where others didn't. your beliefs.after all. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. and your way of seeing the world. many different people could perform well in these situations. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. You choose to react one way over another. and you'll probably underachieve. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. or to prefer one thing to another. The talents you achieve most with. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. The activities you get most satisfaction from. Tip: When you're doing this. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well .8 frustrate and demotivate you. After all. Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. 2. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. the next stage is to think about what you want to do. In psychological terms. .
Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed. industry and profession. who may be much younger than you. Useful ones are: Free. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. .. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data.9 i. ii. On the other hand.assessment. Once you've done this. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better..") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up. a radical career change may be the best thing. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. they can't recommend new careers. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. Using the test results as a starting point. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. extend out and brainstorm the other options available. Because of this.com iii. and can only cope with the major career types.com http://www. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. nor do they know about less well-known careers.self-directed-search.
You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. and perhaps to move. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. Volunteering. qualifications needed. and what the issues and problems within it are. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. • • • • • • • • • . looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. v. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews.10 iv. Career research is not something many people relish. this is quite tedious. Visiting company websites. Yes. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. job pay levels. Attending professional and trade shows. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. who the major players in it are. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. Also. We're not asking you to choose one now. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so.org. Pulling This Together. etc. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. job availability. if you're having trouble prioritizing. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. so that you can understand industry trends. Understanding where organizations are based. Participating in job fairs. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet.
You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. the better the job .) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. or a whole host of other distractions. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. now you need to actually map your progress. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose. in order to get there. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. 3. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. faster. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. • These are your short term goals. you may have rejected several possible careers. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. a job that sounds really glamorous.
The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. You are no longer having fun. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. For example. if you’re a science person. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. You know when you are in a job you like. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. whatever the industry or the job title. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. Likewise. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking. Learning is replaced with routine. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. the career that you are meant for will materialize. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. You are suffering from stress or depression.12 that you'll be able to choose. The effort however. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. You are feeling unappreciated. artistic people would be .
Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. curious. intellectual. and reserved. . tools. or enjoy working with objects. Common traits: • Analytical. and machines. those that need interaction with other people. and genuine. Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. Common traits: • Hard-headed. materialistic. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. inflexible. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. or which demands a lot of number crunching. precise. and status. However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. Avoid activities that seem mundane. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. but may not be good with people. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. but often lack leadership skills. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. Value concrete and tangible things like .money. pessimistic. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. power. 2. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. Value scientific endeavors.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. Avoid "social" activities. persistent. In a perfect world. commercial or "enterprising". practical.
Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. filing. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. great leaders and speakers. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. Value social activities. popular. but may lack scientific ability. and organizing written or numerical data. adventurous. Common traits: • Extroverted. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. introspective. ambitious. and exhibitionistic. Conventional (C): 6. sociable. complicated . Common traits: • Idealistic. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. 5. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. understanding and able to teach others. Value political and economic achievement. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. 4.14 3. persuasive. Value aesthetics. optimistic. Conventional people . Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. record keeping. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. tactful. Common traits: • Generous. training. impractical and nonconformist. and cooperative. patient. reproducing materials. sensitive. curing and enlightening others. developing. emphatic. and enjoy using materials to create art.
and methodical. For example. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. ESA).15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. conscientious. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. things. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. . This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. This gives their Holland's code (for example. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. practical. inflexible. and ideas. Common traits: • Efficient. Value business and economic achievement. defensive. data.
and so on. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. not who we really are. However. family. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. One strategy to deal with this is to . (If so. just complete steps i and ii below.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. These are more Artistic responsibilities. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. To find your ideal career according to this approach. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. use our complete process. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. Here again. For instance. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. There are many of these.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. To shape your job. entertainment. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. ask yourself. one costs US$9. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. "How would my spouse. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs.
This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. In particular. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. and set the goals that will lead you there. and do well. time limited goal. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. . If you're thinking about your career. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific.) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. Likewise. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. look at our Life Plan Workbook. and set realistic goals to change things.
meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. In short. or using your knowledge to change working methods. Decide what you want to change. did a great job. 3. Check on progress. Overall. Practically any job can be crafted. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. Act to put positive change in place. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work.18 The previous post-holder. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. adjust and continue. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. So. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". at least to some extent. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. though. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. Her successor. Stephen. 2. Rebecca. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. so that you can generate better results. follow these steps: 1. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. however. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. has a particular flair for graphic design. (If you're not sure what your strengths are. you can play to your strengths. 4. they've both been really good performers. and you can start whenever you want. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. using skills that you already have. improving both satisfaction and performance. By subtly redesigning your job like this. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment.) .
go back to Step 1. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. Here. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. For more on this. your supervisor or manager. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. you should take into account your clients. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. In our example. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. For example. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. but the overall impact may well be negative. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel".19 • Relationships: Here. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . For example. If this isn't the case. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. more effective workforce. or a boost to your own self-esteem. your colleagues. or more interaction with people from other departments. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. and the organization as a whole. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. For example. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day.
The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. and you decide to make the necessary changes. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. or expect. In job crafting.20 Also. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. But don't wait for. If everything checks out. managerial input or approval before you start. and you feel good about what's happening. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. within your recrafted job. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. After all. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. you can let your changes become a habit. if you have any managerial responsibilities. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. lead to career enhancement opportunities. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. check that it gives you what you want. When you have a number of other people to supervise. By refocusing your job in this way. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. in itself. . nothing will come of it. And of course. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. as mentioned in Step 2. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. 2 and 3 above. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting.
what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. you make sure they become a habit. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. so that it suits you better. and so find out what might also work for you. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. increasing enjoyment. and then. you look for a win-win solution. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. you put the changes into practice. you may uncover some interesting ideas. having checked they're having a positive effect. in order to change aspects of your current job. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time.
Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. And remember. as your own circumstances change. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. however. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. Along with technical skills. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. If you're early in your career. specialization is no longer the route of choice. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. Monitor and track your progress. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. what you are doing now. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. Leadership. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. innovation. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. Toyota and Mars. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. skills and experience. Otherwise. Get and remain tech-savvy. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing.) When you work for this kind of company. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. And yes. or in addition to. A broad range of competencies. To maximize your chances of success. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. Your specific technical skills may get out of date. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. your kit may need to adapt as well. If you're in a highly technical field of work. it is critically important to continue your professional development. It can pay off for some. do it. Develop your competencies. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. . consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. communication. Develop cross-functional skills.
Asking for assignments that require international exposure. Build and maintain a professional network. • • • • Collect business cards. Learning another language. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures. No one can accurately predict the future. Your co-workers. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities.23 "Think global. Note your volunteer work. When you add a mentor or two to your network. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. your profession and the industry you are in. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. When you have a ready list of things you have done. Employers want to know what you will do for them." In many industries. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. • • • • • Track your duties. The more experience you get. List the training you've completed. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. projects and results. Create and maintain a success journal. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. Join professional networking associations. Scan the environment. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. however stay ahead of the crowd .
this will not be the case. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. You need to become good at both to secure your future career. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career.and for employers . Develop resilience. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. For many. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. boredom and. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. To learn more about resiliency. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. however hard you work. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. you can take control of your future career . Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. This will lead to frustration. Develop realistic and achievable goals. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan.or career-change. It is better to prepare now.that have long-term sustainability.24 by keeping yourself informed. With some forethought and planning. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow.if you're good at what you do. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . Back your hunches and analysis with action. and choosing to work in industries . However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. you will eventually have to leave. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path. failure to achieve your potential. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. even if it means a job. in the long term. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. however. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. Because the future is uncertain. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. Keep a clear career path open. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. and development may be blocked.
What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have.25 today.even if they are not directly related to your current job. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. you've got some useful skills. You've always wanted to work in management. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. for many people. So. without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. What can you do? Well. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. But you currently have no management experience. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. Sure. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. In this article. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. you can show initiative. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . This is something you feel passionate about. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet .
You're a good writer. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. Well. marketing. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. The important thing is to see your name in print. you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. Although you may not see immediate results. . You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. However. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. project management. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. fundraising. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. depending on the new company or position. then applying for a related position. in the long term. as a volunteer. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. And. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. Eventually. and the good impression you'll make. then consider volunteering for community organizations. When it's time to apply for that management position. if you really want to make a career change. budgeting. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. or reimburse you for outside classes. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. These skills are highly valued in the business world. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. and to build up your portfolio. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. As well as learning new skills. Many nonprofits . you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. You can write a few articles in your spare time.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. The company might offer training seminars. and more. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. you won't get paid for it). volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. writing.
27 However. . and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. however. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. And. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. which may have only one lecture on building relationships. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. each exploring a different area of relationship building. For example. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. often use lectures from several different experts . do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. you can often complete a qualification in less time . Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week. you may have to use your vacation time. You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. workshops might offer several different lectures. a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . personnel development. if you want to become a medical doctor. You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. and so on. but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé. Executive-level workshops. This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. Instead of a traditional management class. for example). business management. or on weekends. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. Skills like project management. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. accounting and finance.and at a much lower cost . With distance learning.on your lunch hour. in the evenings. marketing.than a traditional school.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. Executive-level workshops can be expensive. For example. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). you attend class at the time and place of your choice .
It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. Consider where your next career move will be. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job.. Where possible. If you're still not sure. If that's not practical. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. 2. 4. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. Apply This to Your Life 1. Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want.28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. our article on Finding Career Direction could help.. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. This will strengthen your qualifications. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. – Viktor Frankl. 3. to choose one's way.
Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. feelings of joy. Anger/aggravation. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. or unable to move forward in some way. if management is forced into making more layoffs.. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. As the above quote shows. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. So. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. staff layoffs. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. and work well under pressure. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. Disappointment/unhappiness. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. excitement. Dislike. you're always free to choose how you react to it. no matter what the situation is. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. After all. a boss who is too . the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. but it's even more important for you to do so. In your personal life. how can you become better at handling your emotions. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. as well as your productivity.. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. After all. Worry/nervousness. compassion. You know. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. But at work. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. and department changes.
and you sit there and worry. Whatever the reason. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. and this can impact not only your mental health. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. then you have more time to prepare. such as anger. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. but also your productivity. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. Or. For more on this. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. if your boss is late for your meeting. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. Instead. and look at the situation. that probably won't help you keep your job. Focus on your breathing. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. For instance. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. and that isn't good for anyone. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. and nothing else. and be specific. you could use this time to relax a little. But this worry can easily get out of control. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. if you allow it. and your willingness to take risks at work. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. just move on. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. When it's people who are causing your frustration. Do this at least five times. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. • • . Write it down.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time.
and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. no matter what. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. knowing that you'll deal with them. it can dent your self-confidence.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. imagine how you would look. Before that time. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. But it's important to be professional. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. Stopping your anger early is key. so learn to recognize them when they begin. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. This interrupts your angry thoughts. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . For instance. you can forget about these worries. When you're worried and nervous about something. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. Also. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes. If you start to get angry. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. you can choose how you react in a situation. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. it gives you some perspective on the situation. Remember. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. and it helps put you back on a more positive path.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business.
Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys.') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. your energy will probably be low. ups and downs. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. and calmly leave the situation. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. you might be afraid to take another risk. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. set the example. negative emotions can spread. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. as you would treat anyone else. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. you always have the power to change your situation. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. Remember. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. Remember. After all. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. but make a small change – for example. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. . Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. If they did. Keep the goal. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. delay the deadline. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. that doesn't mean you should as well. Smile! – Strange as it may sound.
Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day. Now. and that you're ready to take on new ones. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . The longer you wait. and which types of feelings you face most often. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. Organizations move forward by solving problems. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. why should I promote you? Clearly. If you're busy working away.in your pursuit of a promotion.and that may move you forward too. that you've been in the same position for three years while others . The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. Why is it. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements.seemingly lessdeserving people . You may even do your job exceptionally well. your value to the company is your efficiency. remember . producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. When those emotions begin to appear. Think about it. Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. If I promote you. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. then.it means doing more of the RIGHT things.33 Know what causes your negative emotions. But going beyond what's expected. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. can lead to a new job with more responsibility. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be.
review bottom-line results. managers are given responsibility for something. This involves working well as part of a team. Get up-to-date. and make a plan to acquire those skills. When you have the right mix of experience and skill.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education.it's a win-win! . and you'll make your boss's job easier . Determine what you need to learn to add more value. and make sure you acquire these. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. You'll expand your range of experience. Expand your skill set. Then. When you have questions for your boss. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. If your exposure is broader. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. perhaps by reading the industry press. to learn and practice other skills. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. For example. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. while also demonstrating individual competence. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. look for opportunities to lead projects. To gain access to them. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities.to similar positions in different departments . Also. come prepared with solutions as well. gain experience in other areas of the company. For example. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. and stay current in your field.34 You may even want to make lateral moves . Think about cost versus benefit. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole.
faster.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion. When you run into obstacles. . A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. you'll probably end up disappointed. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. Look for a mentor within the organization. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. Set your goal. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. always think about how to do things better. Having someone to talk to. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. the better. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . How can you do something cheaper. is a great benefit.others in your company who may want the same position you want . Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. Understand the big picture. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. think how you can improve them . Find out what they did to get where they are. Take note of who your internal competition might be .and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. and who might champion your ideas. and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. even if you aren't sure of the response. Look for things that aren't being done at all.it's often adding something of value as well. Evaluate your strengths. Put forward your ideas. Rather than accept things as they are. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. The more you learn from other people's experiences. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. find ways to work around them.
expand your skill set. If you aren't ready yet. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. though. Network with people in the company. Understand what drives your company's success. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. are not guarantees of advancement. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. and communicate your promotion goals to others. and then proactively work to achieve it. To prepare for promotion. you can create the path to the position that you want. As you execute your promotion plan. That won't guarantee a promotion. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. Let people know what you want. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. Simply doing what's expected of you. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. increase your value to the organization. and even being the best at what you do. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Using your knowledge of the organization.36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. Get the Recognition You Deserve . Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. take on more of the right responsibilities. By being proactive.
you wish. Then. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. but also share credit where credit is due. there is a way to do this. or bonuses. and you don't point it out to him or her. You'd think that by doing all of this. . Beside each one. because everyone wants something different. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that.and to top it all off. There are many types of recognition. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. at least once in a while. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. and never show up late . But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. if you're a bit nervous. you might forget something important that you've done. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. Unfortunately. people often just want simple praise. certificates. and as a result. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. never miss deadlines. Be sure to make yourself look good. you would. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. Why? Firstly. it would seem odd. So. However. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. or a cold. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. so decide what type you want. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. That includes you. hard check doesn't always communicate that. Believe it or not. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work.
and you don't even realize it. If you appear insincere. If so. If this feels a little too much like bragging. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. not-too-obvious way.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. For example. and you may look bad. Keep the focus off yourself. You can also praise others in front of your boss. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. You know your boss and your business environment. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. then people may notice. Before you get upset. For example. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions . then do it carefully and tactfully . As you talk. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. however. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. In your work environment.in a private area. • . so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working.he or she may be praising you. If you tell your boss directly. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. then say it. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. If you have something good to say. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. Keep it genuine and honest. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. Yes.
and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. If so. keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. they're likely to be older than 50. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. your boss has to know what you've already done. sending emails about small accomplishments. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments.and to do that. If you're a team leader. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better.or even one job . Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others.in their lives. When you recognize the efforts of your team. you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . and send copies to your boss." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. and they're not working for the government. If you notice co-workers doing something great. send them emails praising their efforts.
learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress." What else can you do . and never having a reason to fear layoffs.40 pension. and keeping stress away. willingness to adapt to change. and use this site to build solid career skills. • • . Here. As a result of globalization. For more information. Next. It can be an adventure. and your people skills. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. the world is much different. another one opens. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . the technical skills you need can change quickly. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. because you'll know you've done all you can. however. develop your nontechnical skills as well. These days. In today's job market. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. outsourcing. Your home life.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company.the "fear" of losing your job . team management. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. If you're a good worker with marketable skills. but you can control how you look at it." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. contracting. So. think "outside the box. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. downsizing. never making the break to search for something better. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. recession and even natural disaster. your organizational skills (time management. and the chance to do something new. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. and leadership). keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. So. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. be prepared.
Remember. . Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. This can create negativity and hurt morale. have an open discussion. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. Help another team member who's falling behind. but don't let these fears dominate the group. and you were forced to eliminate one position. or what you're capable of doing. So. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. you keep him or her informed of your value. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. you ALWAYS have control. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. if you don't tell her. Take outside classes and read trade publications.no matter what job you're doing. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). and it's within your power to change it. leadership techniques. think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company. Also. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. so that you know what's going on in your field. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident).41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. By talking about your accomplishments. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. Skills like effective time management. to a different department or even a different branch. and office organization can help you anywhere . Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. Look for lateral transfers within your company." then take control and act. It's your life. make sure you give value to your company. Start learning about other departments. Be PROactive instead of REactive. allow everyone to voice their fears. Be willing to stay late to finish a project.
living with job insecurity is a reality for many. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. And save some money. Remember. even if it's not the right match.the job. not on doubt and uncertainty. When your résumé is current. and put yourself onto a new. if work dries up in your area. If you wait until the last minute. Key Points In today's business world. your life is what you make of it! . Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. exciting path. Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . If you do get laid off. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). if you are laid off. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job. This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive.or losing . you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. Focus on the positive. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon). Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . remember that the world is full of opportunities.
Anger. Depression 5. • Stage One: Denial . Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. Bargaining 4. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. it finally happened. Sure. Denial. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. Also. Let's look at the stages in more detail. After all. simply because more stress is involved. 2. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. 3. but then skip directly to acceptance. These are: 1. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. the more you know. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. You might skip a stage. and think about what you can do to cope with each one. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. Acceptance. or in the same time frame.
In Kübler-Ross's original model. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. your boss. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. and that you have to live with them. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. To cope with denial. Talk with family and friends. if you've worked hard and "given your all". Hurting the people you love will push them away. To cope. or even a counselor. use anger management techniques. This can be one of the most difficult stages. then you're in Stage One. or seek counseling. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. and even unjust or wrong things do happen. After all. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. especially for the people around you. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. and make you feel worse. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. . or the economy in general. your company. this is likely to be more practical. If your anger causes you to treat others badly.
and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened." But. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. and move on. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. be aware of what you're doing. You're grieving for your lost job. Put your energy into moving forward. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. "Whenever one door closes. Remember. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. learn from the experience. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about. you might slip into a state of depression. Helping others can be very healing. if it was your fault. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. as someone else also said. Bargaining is almost always futile. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. You can call it fate or destiny. and it could give you a sense of control in your life.45 For instance. forgive yourself. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. another one opens somewhere. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. Or. You might offer to work part-time. or reduced benefits. To cope with this stage. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. your job right now is to find another job. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. . you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. or train any new hires that come through the door.
And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . you might skip some stages.yet. or if it was your fault. Give yourself time to work through each stage. if not impossible. and keep moving forward.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. and you're stronger because of it. then seek help so you can move forward. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals. It was very hard. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. despite your best effort. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. for them to reach . incredible. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. Traditionally. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. do something productive. anger. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. Again. or go through all five: everyone is different. bargaining. You're a talented. you've learned from it. Talk about your emotions. depression and acceptance. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance.
Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. here are some steps to take. No matter how qualified or experienced. the glass ceiling is still very real. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. However. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. indeed. you have a choice. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. Today. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. . risk takers. If you do. And it's not always limited to gender or race.47 upper management positions. want to break through that glass. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision." However.
• Read everything you can about leadership styles. because it probably won't be handed to you. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. Communication skills will help you.48 To further clarify these ideas. If you achieve that goal. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. Start with the introduction to communication skills. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. set goals to get there. and attributes. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. Each of these is complex. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. then monitor and measure your performance. For example. no matter what job title you have. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . You're responsible for determining your own career direction. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. Be proactive and go after what you want. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. skills. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives.
Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. biases and stereotypes. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. Past practices. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. Get involved with cross-functional teams. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company.49 provide you with valuable information. However. Read more about Professional Networking. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. to be effective and actually make it to the top. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth.
see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. To do this. Don't just accept frustration and failure. watch for discriminatory behavior. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. Build Your Reputation Ultimately. communication skills. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. technical knowledge. Remember. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. Visibility is very important.50 and ideas on how to find one. Know that you're doing everything right. leadership abilities. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. and develop plans to change them. That means proactively managing every . Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. those at the top can see down. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. You want people to see your competence. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. Speak up and contribute in meetings. you need to champion and market yourself. while you can see up.
or anyone in your organization. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. and you may find new zones of opportunity. like it or not. So. Yet. they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. You probably didn't plan for it. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. a mentor. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step.this is a sign of strength. but most people don't succeed all on their own. a strong network. and monitor your progress. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. hopefully. you might have to work harder than others. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling.51 step of your career. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. your old boss is leaving. and. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success. Ask for support and assistance . not weakness. and potentially change the direction of your . and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. Apply some of the ideas in this article. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder.
It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. and prove yourself. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. in this case. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). However. is nothing. In many ways. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. you're not facing reality. Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. Things will likely be different. This person needs your help. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. and even a different management style. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. so the boss may look to you for help. and you have to be supportive. However. So. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. but doesn't know . But you also need to know how and when to act. 2. as well as which problems to avoid. you are also new to your new boss. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. There's a proper balance that you can find. In this article. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. different policies. This can lead to three possibilities: 1. so expect to change the way you work. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. a new boss will likely have different opinions. but doesn't. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'.
perhaps. But your new boss may have a more general management background. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it. However. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. On the other hand. Offer your help. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. but don't appear too eager.53 it. (If you were competing for the job. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. If you do either of these. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. and you have to work with this new person. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). Your new boss knows what you do. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. Your goal is to educate tactfully. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. 3. . and sufficiently. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss. considerately. Tip: Be helpful. because she did your job before you got there. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. Even if your new boss knows what you do. yourself).
but also figuring out who the key players are. Use common sense. and mutual availability as your guiding factors. Now What? covers this in detail. For example. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • . • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point.and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . but we've summarized some of the information here.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months.. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. but at least you'll know. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things.. Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. individual preferences.
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